#StaffPick: The Lady’s Handbook for Her Mysterious Illness by Sarah Ramey

The Lady’s Handbook for Her Mysterious Illness
by Sarah Ramey
432 pages
Doubleday Books
Non-Fiction, Biography
Available in print format

Nobody can figure out what is wrong with Sarah Ramey.

She has more symptoms than she can count, but no physician can give her a diagnosis — not even her two top-notch doctor parents. It started innocently enough, when she got a urinary tract infection in her senior year of college. The only problem was the infection did not go away. This led to an invasive surgery, which led to a myriad of prolonged and elusive conditions that ate away at Ramey’s health.

Doctors repeatedly told her the crippling pain was in her head — that she should see a physiatrist and take anti-depressants. They were wrong.

The Lady’s Handbook for Her Mysterious Illness is an illuminating health saga. It follows Ramey through her decade-long struggle to feel acknowledged and cared for in the world of sexism and modern medicine, while her body falls apart.

It is a fascinating and frustrating read. It taught me that sometimes, no amount of privilege can save you from an unhappy body, and that Ramey’s case is not an anomaly. “I thought I was the strangest medical case on the east coast,” writes Ramey. “But I was wrong.”

This book is a must-read for anyone struggling with their own health, or knows someone who is. That said, it will resonate with anyone looking to broaden their perspective on wellness.

If, like me,

you do not mind a choppy writing style and lengthy musings on femininity,

dear reader, saddle up — it’s going to be a wild ride.

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